Run the Jewels - RTJ4
Jun 3, 2020 (updated Jun 3, 2020)
93
Run the Jewels... 4.

I've never listened to a Run the Jewels project up until now, and now I finally understand what the hype is all about. Run the Jewels 4 is fucking fantastic.

It's been almost four years since the last Run the Jewels outing, and it feels like they haven't wasted one second of the time in between. Killer Mike and El-P's rapping is technical, yes, but has that special hint of S O C I A L C O M M E N T A R Y that makes their music more unique and more memorable. Sure, you can just shut your brain off and enjoy this as a project of 11 bangers, but turning your brain on actually makes this album hit even harder than it already did. Killer Mike's verse on walking in the snow, El-P's verse on JU$T, all three verses on walking in the snow, just so many verses that speak on issues with such efficiency and, well, smartly.

This also goes without saying, but Killer Mike and El-P are fucking fantastic at rapping. The flows are impressive, and the lyrics and wordplay couldn't possibly be more on point.

But good rapping can only take you so far, if the instrumentals suck then the music sucks. But fuck, did El-P and the others knock it out of the fucking park with the instrumentals here. All of them bar the final track are incredibly creative while also being to the point bangers. Love the incessant vocal sampling on out of sight, the wackiness of walking in the snow, and the major bop factor on JU$T and never look back.

There are also a decent amount of collaborators on Run the Jewels 4, after all who wouldn't want to put their name on such a magnificent effort? Pharrell, and especially Gangsta Boo all cash in total bops of choruses, while Mavis Staples sings an absolutely show-stopping chorus on her track. Zack de la Rocha also has a great feature on JU$T, really screaming his brains out while also sounding extremely intelligent. The only feature who I feel could've been better was 2 Chainz, for as retarded as he could've gone his performance on out of sight is pretty toned down. It isn't bad, it just could've been better.

There are a few complaints I have with Run the Jewels 4 besides 2 Chainz, there are a few underwhelming choruses here and there, like on the second part of holy calamafuck and never look back. The last track, a few words for the firing squad (radiation) is similarly underwhelming, it feels like it's ramping up to something fantastic but the climax is so incredibly underwhelming. Also doesn't help that it's the longest song here too.

But overall, Run the Jewels 4 is a phenomenal effort from two hip-hop legends. The rapping is on point, the instrumentals are fantastic, the collaborators steal the show, and the tracklist is an airtight eleven tracks. An extremely solid hip-hop album and easily one of this years' best.

Favorite Track(s): yankee and the brave (ep. 4), ooh la la, out of sight, holy calamafuck, goonies vs. ET, walking in the snow, JU$T, never look back, the ground below, pulling the pin
Least Favorite Track: a few words for the firing squad (radiation)
1 Comment
Jun 3, 2020
S O C I A L C O M M E N T A R Y
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